by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Joe Biden and his handlers know that he should be out and about, weighing in daily on the issues of the campaign.
In impromptu interviews, Biden should be offering alternative plans for dealing with the virus, the lockdown, the economic recovery, the violence and the looting, the racial tensions.
Yet Biden’s handlers seem to assume that if he were to leave his basement and fully enter the fray, he could lose the election in moments of gaffes, lapses, or prolonged silences.
So wisely, Team Biden relied on the fact that the commander in chief is always blamed for bad news — and there has been plenty of bad news worldwide this year.
That reality was reflected in the spring and early-summer polls that showed growing discontent with the incumbent Trump, as if he were solely responsible for one of the most depressing years in U.S. history.
But news cycles, like polls, are not always static.
What was true in July is not necessarily so in September and especially in November. Volatile years produce volatile voters. Now, many voters think they see a waning of the virus, a need to get their kids back in school, and a glimmer of hope that the economy is recovering.
A large segment of the public is becoming irate at the nightly looting, destruction, and arson that no longer seem to have much to do with the May death of George Floyd while in police custody. Where are the police, the mayors, and the governors to protect the vulnerable, the law-abiding, and the small-business owners?
Biden knows the mercurial polls now tell him that he must reemerge and cease being a virtual candidate. Yet he knows that if he does, he risks losing the race.